Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Kiwis Lose Welfare Rights; New Zealanders Are Becoming Second Class Citizens in the A[euro]lucky Countrya[euro], Write New Zealand Herald Journalists Greg Ansley and Michael Dickison

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Kiwis Lose Welfare Rights; New Zealanders Are Becoming Second Class Citizens in the A[euro]lucky Countrya[euro], Write New Zealand Herald Journalists Greg Ansley and Michael Dickison

Article excerpt

WITH no access to the dole or other support, and with high truancy rates as teenagers give up and drop out of school, social agencies have reported rising numbers of New Zealand and Pacific Islander youths trapped by homelessness, teen pregnancies, depression and anti-social behaviour.

In Melbourneas north-west the jobless rate for 15 to 19-year-olds is more than 50 per cent. In western Sydney the rate runs up to 28 per cent, and itas 33 per cent on the Sunshine Coast.

Suicide rates are rising. And many are living on the streets, turning to crime to survive.

Queensland agencies dealing with youth crime and children at risk of abuse or neglect have noted asignificanta rises in Maori and Pacific Islander cases.

In some areas, such as south Brisbane and Mt Druitt in western Sydney, they account for more than 20 per cent of police caseloads.

For those whose luck turns bad, life turns nasty.

They have no access to disability and other payments, and if they lose their jobs can only fall back on charity.

Even if they have work, finding a home can be hard.

Aid agencies including St Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army have united to give financial help to keep Kiwis from homelessness.

The number of young Kiwis seeking help from the Gold Coast Youth Service had doubled in the past two years: aSupport offered can generally only include a food parcel, sleeping bag and a tent.a

On the Sunshine Coast, Adrienne Heppel has set up New Zealand House.

The self-funded facility helps the disabled and the homeless, among others.

aWeare just inundated with requests for assistance every which way,a Mrs Heppel said.

Through despair or necessity, expat Kiwi children are dropping out of school at alarming rates.

Many are forced to leave at 16, when family aid benefits expire, while others take on shift work to help support their families. …

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